AI pilots move DGCA for alleged flouting of duty-hour rule

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New Delhi: A section of Air India pilots today approached civil aviation regulator DGCA with the allegation that the airline is forcing them to fly beyond their duty hours in violation of safety norms and demanded its intervention.

In a letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), General Secretary of Indian Commercial Pilot’s Association (ICPA) Captain T Praveen Keerthi said “the airline has failed to abide by the regulatory requirements and is constantly violating and forcing the pilots to violate FDTL.”

It alleged Air India operated Delhi-Bangkok-Mumbai (AI 331/332) in violation of flying time limitation on August 17. Similarly, on August 20, two flights Cochin-Sharjah-Cochin (AI 933/934) and Calicut-Sharjah-Calicut (AI 997/998) were operated in violation of the Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL).

Seeking DGCA’s intervention, Keerthi said “as violation of FDTL was a serious flight safety matter, it was requested to kindly intervene and advice the airline to revise the schedule of flights which are being operated in violation of FDTL.”

Following directions from Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Air India has implemented a new operation schedule for its pilots which is in consonance with DGCA’s FDTL and FTL rules.

Pilots are alleging the new schedule was causing problems not only for the pilots but also for the airline as it doesn’t have adeqaute number of pilots spared for training on Boeing 787 aircraft as part of the management’s plan to cross-train its pilots.

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